Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let's get ready to rumble.

No matter where you are in my town, it only takes about a five minute drive, at 35mph, to get to any other location in my town.  My little corner of rural casino hell is just that small.  From my house to the grocery store is about a minute.  My house to the school is three minutes.  My house to the liquor store is three minutes too.   One side of town to the other, five minutes tops.

This is why it's positively absurd that there is a traffic jam in my town every weekday at 3 pm.

That's when school gets out.

And that's when every parent in the school parking lot, except for me, wants out of that parking lot at 3:05.  So they can get home five minutes later.  Maybe they don't want to miss ten minutes worth of Judge Judy or Dr. Pheel.  I don't know.

What I do know is that picking your kids up at school is a competitive and aggressive sport.  Getting your vehicle maneuvered around the other vehicles so you can get up to the school exit at 4 minutes after the hour requires a helmet, a mouth guard and a cup.

I've seen women come to blows right in the parking lot over whose nose was mere inches further out than the other's.  I'm not joking.  Screaming and closed fists.  Crass names for female parts.  Educational.

Driving in a way that is mindful of not running over small children?  Whoever heard of such a thing!  Just Let. Me. OUTTA HERE!

The school has organized the parking lot and exits the best it can.  There is always a teacher who directs the flow of kids and cars and two others on crossing guard duty.  I hope those teachers are getting hazard pay.  I hope they get funding for their own helmets and mouth guards.

So, after waiting for the school to empty of traffic, middle fingers, and children, I start my engine and leave without any dents in my bumper at 3:10. 

I wonder what all those other parents do with the five minutes they save.

They probably spit shine their cups. 


  1. If the town is so small, why can't the kids walk home? If the parents were off the road it would be safe.

    I've nearly been run down by parents twice. Once in the parking lot. The other time I was detailed to keep the parents from blocking the bus exit, when construction made the line go in front of that side of the building.

  2. About half the kids do. If my youngest were older he would too! I'm required to pick up my kindergartner directly at the classroom door.

  3. Its the same here. I live around the corner from the school and have to drive by it to get to work. The other morning, not one but two, mothers decided to drive down the wrong side of the street, my side to get home after driving their child to school. I had to stop or they would have crashed right into the front of my car. Female drivers!!!

    Erf (is ducking now)

  4. Now that my youngest started high school, I no longer taxi anyone to school. Ahhhh...bliss!

  5. Perhaps you should just walk over to pick him up? Then you could sit and observe the chaos, like in the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movie AND get some exercise. At least when the weather isn't bad.

    Our Prius is just over a year old now and most of our trips around town are short so that the ICE (internal combustion engine) is running a lot just to heat the catalytic converter. That costs in mileage with us only averaging around 48mpg. Maybe I need to just take longer trips in order to get better mileage? Or spend another $10,000 to convert it to a plug-in model that can run around town in all electric mode.

  6. Ihave 2 of my 3 boys in school. Thankfully when I go to pick them up, it's not the mad house that you are depicting here -- I think it used to be close before they renovated the school though. There is set way to go in & leave; anyone who goes against that gets the dirty looks, fingers & no one lets them through.
    I usually park at the outer lot & walk up to where my boys are -- otherwise they race each other to my truck.
    The parents in your town sound like idiots... except you. :)

  7. I run the gaunlet everyday to drop off Boy#2. Blessedly my poor bedraggled husband has to pick him up and he complains mightily about the "Frantic Frannies"

    He does the same thing you do, waits and watches with admiration at all the one-handed turning while flipping the bird to the lady you are in Sunday School with (oy vey)


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